Kansas

March Madness: Kansas vs. USC odds, picks and prediction

The No. 3 seed Kansas Jayhawks (21-8) take on the No. 6 seed USC Trojans (23-7) Monday in a West Region second-round contest at Hinkle Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. Tip-off is scheduled for 9:40 p.m. ET. Below, we analyze the Kansas-USC odds and lines, with March Madness NCAA Tournament picks and predictions.

The Jayhawks ground out a 93-84 win against Eastern Washington of the Big Sky Conference in Round 1; they failed to cover a 10.5-point number. Still, while the defense was a little bit of a concern, the offensive production was top-notch. Rock Chalk had five players in double digits for points, including G Marcus Garrett with 20 points, 8 rebounds and 3 assists.

USC spanked Drake 72-56 in the first round; the Trojans coasted to a cover as 7.5-point favorites. Casual fans might be impressed if they’re just tuning in, but the Trojans have been playing that type of lockdown defense all season. They were 38th in the country with 64.1 points per game allowed, and 11th in defensive field-goal percentage at 39.1%.

If they have an Achilles’ heel, it’s defending the triple, as USC allowed foes to hit 33.6% from behind the arc, just 173rd overall. The good news is KU is marginal in that category, hitting just 34.3% to rank 149th overall.

Kansas vs. USC: Odds, spread and lines

Odds via BetMGM; access USA TODAY Sports’ betting odds for a full list. Lines last updated at 7:30 a.m. ET.

  • Money line: Kansas +105 (bet $100 to win $105) | USC -130 (bet $130 to win $100)
  • Against the spread/ATS: Kansas +1.5 (-110) | USC -1.5 (-110)
  • Over/Under: 134.5 (O: -110 | U: -110)

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Kansas vs. USC: Odds, lines, predictions and picks

Prediction

Kansas 72, USC 69

Money line (ML)

KANSAS (+105) is the higher seed but is the underdog. That’s a complete lack of disrespect for one of college’s blue bloods.

It also makes no sense given the fact the Jayhawks are 9-1 straight up and 7-2-1 ATS across their past 10 outings. Perhaps the books are still not sold on KU after it had to cut the Big 12 Tournament short due to COVID-19 protocols. The Jayhawks’ 93 points in the first round was their most since Feb. 11 against Iowa State (97).

USC is a very good team, but it’s just 5-4 SU and 3-6 ATS across its past nine games. Something just doesn’t compute here. Take advantage.

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Against the spread (ATS)

Kansas +1.5 (-110) doesn’t make much sense against the spread. Just take the money line for a better value, unless you truly expect this to be a one-point game.

PASS.

Over/Under (O/U)

OVER 134.5 (-110) is the lean, as the Trojans have hit the Over in six of their past seven games after a straight-up win, and in four of their past five after a cover.

Kansas rolled up big numbers against EWU and has hit the Over in five of its past six neutral-site games, and six of its past seven NCAA Tournament games. The Over is also a perfect 6-0 in the past six for Kansas as a neutral-site underdog.

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More college sports coverage from USA TODAY Sports Media Group:

Alabama / Auburn / Florida / Georgia / LSU / Michigan / Michigan State / Notre Dame / Ohio State / Oklahoma / Tennessee / Texas / USC / Wisconsin

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